Want to know what's great about America? The freedoms that we exercise every day in speech, travel, worship etc.. That does not mean we should not be held accountable for what we say and do. With great freedom, comes great responsibility.
Want to know what's not so great about America? I picked three recent articles that show the direction in which we are headed. It's way past time for a compass check, it's time to secure the republic.
First we teach this:Two-thirds of U.S. college students see nothing unethical about downloading digital copyrighted files without paying, a survey found.
In addition, 52 percent think downloading music without paying is acceptable behavior in the workplace, according to the survey released by Business Software Alliance.
The survey reveals 45 percent of students are using campus networks for downloading activities.
And then we protect this: A dozen anti-war activists from Mendocino County took their tops off at high noon in San Francisco's Union Square shopping district Thursday, using what they said was their best weapon to get the public's attention. Several tourists said the protest irked them not because of the adults, but because a protestor's 9-year-old daughter and the girl's 10-year-old friend, were also bare-chested. The girls brought their half-naked dolls to the protest, too.
"Hey! Explain this to me!" said an agog visitor from Florida, approaching San Francisco police Sgt. Carl T., who was assigned to keep an eye on the crowd and who really has only a letter for a last name.
"It's not illegal," the sergeant told the woman.
Technically, the sergeant explained, nudity can be considered misdemeanor indecent exposure if the person in their birthday suit has an intention to titillate. Because the protest is political, not sensual or lewd, it really doesn't count, he said. And it doesn't fall into the category of public nuisance, because it lacks an annoying quality, like the guy who was doing naked yoga at Fisherman's Wharf near a children's school bus stop, he said.
Many San Franciscans eating their lunch in the Union Square park shook their heads and kept on eating or reading. "God, I hate this city!" said one, rushing away.
Finally, we punish this: Last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling approving a Connecticut city's plan to take private land by eminent domain may seem far away. But to John Revelli, whose family has operated a tire shop near downtown Oakland for decades, the implications hit home on Friday.
A team of contractors hired by the city of Oakland packed the contents of his small auto shop in a moving van and evicted Revelli from the property his family has owned since 1949.The city of Oakland, using eminent domain, seized Revelli Tire and the adjacent property, owner-operated Autohouse, on 20th Street between Telegraph and San Pablo avenues on Friday and evicted the longtime property owners, who have refused to sell to clear the way for a large housing development.
Both Revelli Tire and Autohouse, owned and operated by Tony Fung, are on the northern edge of the project in the 400 block of 20th Street, which is also called Thomas L. Berkley Way.
Fung and Revelli said the money offered by the city, about $100 per square foot plus relocation costs, was insufficient, saying the real estate boom has priced them out of nearby properties.
They own their properties outright and have operated with low overhead. "John works alone; I have one technician working with me -- that's it, '' said Fung, who bought his 2,500-square-foot shop in 1993.
"The cost of buying or leasing a new site is prohibitive. The money the city offered me does not cover it." Revelli, who has worked alone for the past 35 years, said no other location is as good as what he is losing. "My customers are mainly women who work in the offices downtown. They can take BART if they have to leave their cars overnight," Revelli said. "There's really no equivalent location around here."
Both men said Friday that losing their businesses was like losing a piece of themselves.
"I've worked here full time since 1959, and I looked forward to coming to work every day," Revelli said. "I'm not ready to retire, but the city forced me into this. I don't have many options."
Fung, who is in his late 40s and raising his children, said retirement is not an option. "I'm an immigrant from China, and this has been the fulfillment of my American dream," Fung said. "I worked hard. I played by the rules. But now it's all gone. I've got to start all over."
Info from Web India and SF Gate.